Many of us prefer to store our motorcycles for the cold season. But should we pay for the motorcycle insurance during winter? Or can we save a few dollars without too much risk?
Let me give you a sneak peek at a few options we’ll uncover. First up – the temptation to cancel completely is strong when cash is tight, but is it really worth it long term? What about this “lay-up” thing some companies offer – sounds interesting but what does it actually cover?
And finally, raising the deductible seems like a no-brainer to knock down premiums, but how much can you expect to save really? We’ll do the math.
By the time we’re done dissecting these strategies, you’ll be armed with the facts to make the best choice for your ride. So grab a coffee, get cozy, and tune in while I break it all down. Your wallet will thank you, I promise!
The Options You Can Choose for Motorcycle Insurance During Winter
We’ll explore the various insurance options available during the winter season. Get insights into how you can tailor your coverage to match your needs and circumstances without compromising with financial protection for your motorcycles.
Option 1: Canceling the Insurance
We understand the temptation to cancel insurance during winter months to save some money. After all, what’s the point of paying if you can’t ride anyway, right? But there are a few things to consider before going that route.
Fees Can Eat Into Savings
A lot of times, insurance companies will charge you a fee for canceling your policy early. They might keep $30 or even more of your refund.
So if your policy is $500 for 6 months, you might only get $470 back after paying a fee. So the “savings” isn’t really that much.
Insurers May Not Renew
We’ve all heard stories of people having a hard time finding new insurance after canceling their old policy. The companies don’t like seeing that you only insure for part of the year. They may find it problematic that you may only pay when it’s convenient. Then what happens if you crash in the “uninsured” months? They don’t want to take that risk.
Bob from our riding club learned this the hard way. He canceled his policy every winter for years to save a hundred bucks. But last spring, no one would insure him for a reasonable rate. He ended up paying double what he was paying before. Definitely not worth the short term savings!
Risk of Storage Damage
Even if the bike sits in the garage, things can still happen over a few months. Mice or rats could chew wires. A roof or pipe leak could damage electronics. Maybe one sunny day you get an itch to ride and something goes wrong. Without coverage, those repairs would be 100% out of your pocket.
Jenna spent over a grand fixing her bike after a mouse chewed through some important stuff over the winter. She thought nothing could happen just leaving it be. But one small creature caused a big headache. Insurance could’ve protected her from that nasty surprise.
In the end, the few hundred you save probably isn’t worth losing coverage or dealing with hassle down the road. It’s best to look at other options that let you keep active insurance in place.
Option 2: Lay-Up Insurance Policies
Some companies have something called “lay-up” coverage that’s perfect for winter weather. It’s basically a pause on your regular motorcycle policy. Things like liability for accidents are suspended since no one’s riding. But you still get protection for theft or damage to the stored bike.
Peace of Mind During Storage
Lay-up coverage gives you hassle-free protection over the cold months. A friend of mine signs up for it every year. She knows her bike is safe even sitting for months on end.
Last winter some vandals broke into the storage unit, but thankfully they left her motorcycle alone. Her lay-up insurance covered repairs to the door they damaged. Better to be protected than taking a risk!
Coverage For Rare Winter Rides
With lay-up policies, you have options. Some will allow you to keep a small amount of liability coverage, just in case. You never know when you might get a warm day that makes you want to take the bike out. As long as the roads are clear, a quick sunny spin could be nice.
Ideal For Strict Winter Storage
Lay-up insurance works really well if you fully put the bike in hibernation during the colder months. No plans to ride at all until Spring. It suspends full coverage but keeps important protection from things like fire or theft for just a fraction of the regular price.
For the small annual cost, lay-up insurance offers solid security and piece of mind during winter storage. It may be worth checking if your provider offers it.
Option 3: Raising Your Deductible
Opting to raise your deductible is a strategic choice that can impact your insurance premiums. By accepting a higher out-of-pocket expense in the event of a claim, you can often enjoy reduced monthly insurance costs.
Lower Premiums With A Higher Deductible
Most insurance companies let you pick your deductible when you sign up. A deductible is how much you agree to pay out of pocket if you need to make a claim. The higher that amount, the lower your premiums will be each month. Makes sense right? You’re taking on more risk yourself in exchange for cheaper rates.
Let’s say, you can raise your deductible to $500 and save over $30 a month according to quotes from your insurer. That adds up to over $360 in annual savings just by adjusting the deductible. Not too shabby for almost no extra effort on your part really.
Big Discounts For Minimal Extra Risk
Some companies guarantee percentage discounts the higher your deductible goes. We saw 35% savings with a $1,000 deductible in one example. You’d have to experience some serious repair costs to actually pay that much out of pocket. And you’re saving hundreds per year in the process. With deals that sweet, it seems like a no-brainer for plenty of riders.
Long-Term Savings By Keeping It High
Once you up your deductible, you might as well leave it there to keep reaping the rewards most of the year. My policy lets me hold my deductible at $500 all year long now that I changed it.
Some folks lower it back in summer, but you have to do the math. Leaving it at the higher amount may save you over $100 annually versus switching it twice a year. If you ride less in winter, the small bump in risk will be well worth that extra cash in your pocket every renewal.
Works Great For Occasional Riders
If you’re not commuting on your bike daily, upping your deductible makes fantastic sense as a year-round thing. Kara and her husband ride a few times a month at most between their schedules. The discount they get more than offsets the slim chance they’ll need to use that deductible amount.
By keeping that higher bar in place twelve months out of the year, occasional riders like them maximize the long-term discounts. It adds up significantly over several years of insurance.
For most of us, raising the deductible a few hundred dollars leads to good ongoing savings without adding major risk. A small price to pay to bring premium costs down each month if you ask me.
Motorcycle Insurance During Winter: Comparing All 3 Options
|None during canceled months
|Coverage suspended for selected months
|Full coverage year-round
|Small refund for unpaid months
|Lower rates for suspended coverage
|Reduced monthly premiums
|Possible fees or higher future rates
|Easy to restart full coverage
|N/A – stayed insured
|No protection while canceled
|Theft and damage coverage
|Full protection maintained
|No coverage even for rare rides
|Usually allows 1 ride/month
|Ride as normal with deductible
|Possible issues finding new policy
|Easy to keep long-term coverage
|No disruptions to insurability
|Uninsured if loss occurs
|Minimal risk during storage
|Higher out-of-pocket costs if claim
|Not recommended due to future risks
|Good option for safe storage months
|Best for occasional riders to maximize savings
There are a few options to consider for insuring your bikes during winter months when riding isn’t possible.
Canceling your policy can seem tempting for short term savings, but in the long run it may cost you more through reinstatement fees and higher future rates. That small refund isn’t worth the risk of losing coverage or huge rate hikes down the road.
Lay-up policies offer the flexibility to suspend unneeded coverage parts for storage months while still providing protection from damage, theft, or the rare sunny day ride. It’s a smart compromise for continuous coverage at a lower cost.
Raising your deductible slashes monthly premiums too, often by 30% or more according to examples we saw. As long as you’re not riding daily, boosting that deductible brings great savings with fairly minimal extra risk.
If I had to recommend the best path, I’d say either go with a lay-up insurance plan or look into raising your deductible. Both let you keep the security of active coverage through the winter, just streamlined to save some cash. Canceling offers short lived savings that may end up costing more in the long run.
FAQs About Winter Motorcycle Insurance
What if I store my bike out of state for the winter?
Check with your insurer about coverage in other locations. You may need a lay-up policy or non-garaging endorsement to ensure protection if stolen or damaged while stored elsewhere.
Are there limitations on lay-up policies?
Some insurers only allow lay-up for 6 months max or certain winter calendar periods. Read fine print on allowable lay-up timeframes.
Can I insure an unregistered bike over winter?
Many insurers won’t cover unregistered bikes. Make sure yours is still properly registered if taking a lay-up policy or storage will be considered “operating without registration.”
How does raising my deductible impact claims history?
Your claims won’t be affected, but insurer may review your account if multiple at-fault claims are filed under a higher deductible.
What if I want to do minor maintenance while it’s stored?
Lay-up policies may still cover incidents during maintenance as long as bike isn’t being operated. Contact insurer for clarification on coverage for winter motor work.
How far in advance do I need to arrange lay-up coverage?
Varies by company, but give 2-4 weeks notice before your policy’s renewal for them to process the lay-up agreement. Don’t let coverage accidentally lapse.